[QODLink]
Middle East
Israel cuts ties with UN human rights body
Co-operation with UN Human Rights Council suspended as punitive measure for probe of illegal West Bank settlements.
Last Modified: 26 Mar 2012 16:33
Navi Pillay, UN commissioner for human rights, said West Bank settlement expansion is linked to violence [Reuters]

Israel has said it has severed contacts with the UN Human Rights Council after the group's launch last week of an international investigation into Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

The decision, announced by a foreign ministry spokesman on Monday, meant that the fact-finding team the council planned to send to the West Bank will not be allowed to enter the territory or Israel, said spokesman Yigal Palmor.
 
"We are not working with them anymore," Palmor said about the Geneva-based forum. "We had been participating in meetings, discussions, arranging visits to Israel. All that is over."

The international investigation was launched on Thursday, with the United States isolated in voting against the initiative brought by the Palestinian Authority.

Israeli leaders swiftly condemned the UN body, saying it was hypocritical and biased against Israel.

"They systematically and serially make all kinds of decisions and condemnations against Israel without even symbolically considering our positions," Palmor said. 

He said Israel would continue to cooperate with other UN bodies.

Settlement status

The UN Human Rights Council condemned Israel's planned construction of new housing units for Jewish settlers in the
West Bank and East Jerusalem, saying they undermined the peace process and posed a threat to the two-state solution and the creation of a contiguous and independent Palestinian state.

About 500,000 Israelis and 2.5 million Palestinians live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, areas Israel captured in a 1967 war.

Palestinians want the territory for an independent state along with the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

Palestinians say settlements, considered illegal by the International Court of Justice, the highest UN legal body for disputes, would deny them a viable state.

Israel cites historical and Biblical links to the West Bank and says the status of settlements should be decided in peace negotiations.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Featured
Pro-Russia leaders' election in Ukraine's east shows bloody conflict is far from a peaceful resolution.
Critics challenge Canberra's move to refuse visas for West Africans in Ebola-besieged countries.
A key issue for Hispanics is the estimated 11.3 million immigrants in the US without papers who face deportation.
In 1970, only two mosques existed in the country, but now more than 200 offer sanctuary to Japan's Muslims.
Hundreds of the country's reporters eke out a living by finding news - then burying it for a price.